The other night I was at an Endangered Bodies meeting, and I was telling this woman that she is beautiful and she said, “no no no, I’m not, you probably don’t know you’re pretty too?”
I responded quickly, “Actually I do know that,” and laughed nervously.
She responded quickly, “Actually I like that you are confident.”
More often than I am looked down upon for feeling secure about my appearance. I’m looked at as narcissistic.
I begin to feel like the enemy when I express my security, and feel as if I’m supposed to apologize for feeling confident about my appearance.
I think women are in a double bind being—told to be confident, while at the same time told not to be too confident It’s often a bonding experience amongst women to complain about what they look like. It’s creates a common “enemy” and an opportunity to feel connected. This in itself is sad. Women have so many other issues like their professions.
As much as I feel confident about what I look like, and that is a good thing, I also think it makes me more aware of the attention I receive because of m looks. The other day this man on the line for refreshments at the movie theater was staring at me in a very obvious way. It didn’t feel good but then there’s a part of me that feels like I should feel complimented that a man is staring at me, because at the end of the day being beautiful is something that should be celebrated, right? I am terrified of coming across as an angry woman if I said to him,”What are you looking at?”
Many times I feel powerless, but then I listen to a segment on NPR and come across an amazing woman like Tatyana Fazlalizadeh, who was so tired of street harassment, that she decided to create street art that expressed her viewpoints. We DON”T have to feel like victims, there is something we can do. Sometimes it is as simple as talking about the issue to other women or creating street art that shows our particular point of view.
Tatyana is not saying that there won’t be conflict. She wrote on her site, “A lot of people will not agree with this project A lot of people, men AND women, will not understand it. And that’s okay. This project is not asking for there to be zero interaction between men and women in public spaces—it’s asking for the interaction to be respectful and safe.”She makes a good point that she’s not out there for someone else’s entertainment or pleasure.”
Check out an interview she was featured in.
It reminds me of my monologue “Smile.”
Lastly, if you want to get involved in Endangered Bodies then please come to the next meeting on the last Thursday of the month At The New School For Social Research located at 80 Fifth Avenue, Third Floor.